Original thoughts are like toys in the attic…
We receive them, we love them for a while, and then for whatever reason we abandon them, leaving them unshared and unrealized. Maybe we fear that others will steal our thoughts, so we hide them away like a miser hoarding his gold. Maybe we fear that our thoughts and ideas are “too out there,” “too intense,” or that they will scare people away. Again, whatever the reason, we tuck them away in the attic of our minds and forget about them.
There they sit, gathering dust, waiting to be rediscovered. Patiently they bide their time, yearning to be found again and given a chance to be fully expressed. Sometimes they find their way back to us quickly, by way of a synchronistic nudge or by a similar comment made by a kindred spirit. Sometimes they remain hidden for years, lost in an ocean of accumulated memories, regrets, unfulfilled dreams, and miscellaneous baggage collected over a lifetime.
Occasionally we will remember these long-lost thoughts and retrieve them from their dusty perch. Forever grateful to be evoked once more, they push through the clutter and jump joyfully into our consciousness.
At times we are hit with an ‘ah-ha’ or a gentle recognition of how brilliant and beautiful this thought was, and we wonder why we ever hid it away in the first place. Other times we hold the thought, wipe away the dust, and recoil at its veracity, or its darkness.
We ask ourselves, “Do I dare let this thought see the light of day? What will others think of me if I do?” It is that moment that an original thought is given life, or it is left for dead. If it’s lucky, it will find its way to another mind and take hold. If it’s not, then it fades to nothing, having never had a chance to succeed or fail. It simply withers and dies.
We do a great disservice to this world when we fail or refuse to express our original thoughts and ideas. So many great inventions and societal accomplishments were begun with a single soul willing to step forward with an idea that had never before been brought to the attention of others.
So many of us seem to fear that our ideas will be ignored, laughed at, or outright rejected. We fear that they are not worth sharing because we are not some great sage, politician, or other person of great societal stature. We see ourselves as simply ‘us’ and therefore, we feel our opinions hold no real weight. It’s in this belief we find our folly.
In his essay, “Self-Reliance,” Ralph Waldo Emerson says, “Speak your latent conviction . . . else tomorrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.”
There is no harder pill to swallow than to hear your own thoughts spoken from another’s mouth and then met with full agreement by those we believed would reject us. You are suddenly faced with the realization that you missed your opportunity to share the brilliance of your own mind because you feared rejection.
No matter your motivation for sharing your thoughts and opinions, if you allow fear to hold you in silence, you will never know what could have been. You must be brave enough to put yourself out there knowing full well you may be met with resounding disapproval, or else go on ever-wondering what could have been if only you had dared to speak your mind.
As with any important question or aspiration in life, if you never ask and never try the answer will always be ‘no.’
So on behalf of all unspoken thoughts, unshared ideas, and opinions, I urge you to throw the doors of your mind’s attic open. Take those long-tucked-away thoughts off their shelves. Dust them off. Give them a voice. Express what is yours to express unabashedly. It may be the only chance these little gems have to shine.
They are your gifts to give, no matter what others may think of them. Breathe life into them. Share them. You may encounter far more kindred spirits out there than you realize.
And if you are met with only shrugs or disagreement, then know that even this is a success. You may have sparked something in another that will grow into its own original thought — and who knows where that could lead.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith.
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